Bogus: Shroud of Turin, The Conservative Voice, April 08, 2007, Grant Swank ...Continued from part #2 with radiocarbon dating assumption "3) there has been no additional neutron source that would be creating C-14 from N-14."
[Above: Carbon-14 Dating - an example, Ralph E. Taggart, Michigan State University. Note that a neutron (n) impacting a normal nitrogen-14 atom (14N), splits it into a proton (p) and a carbon-14 atom (14C), which when combined with two atoms of oxygen as CO2, is taken up by plants (like flax that linen is made of) in photosynthesis.]
"Stevenson & Habermas mention that the Shroud has been for much of its history stored in vaults in castles and monasteries. If those vaults were stone and those stones contained uranium and uranium decay products (which is likely), then they would be a source of neutrons that would have had the effect of reducing the Shroud's radiometric age."
This is indirectly supported by Wikipedia in that, "Granite is a normal, geological, source of radiation," "In buildings constructed primarily from natural granite, it is possible to be exposed to approximately 200 mrems per year," "Granite could be considered a potential natural radiological hazard as, for instance, villages located over granite may be susceptible to higher doses of radiation than other communites," and "Cellars and basements sunk into soils formed over or from particularly uraniferous granites can become a trap for radon gas (my emphasis):
"Granite: Natural radiation Granite is a normal, geological, source of radiation in the natural environment. Granite has around 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium. By contrast, black granite (typically actually a tonalite, gabbro or diorite) has 1 to 5ppm uranium, and limestones and sedimentary rocks usually equally low. Many large granite plutons are the sources for palaeochannel-hosted or roll front uranium ore deposits, where the uranum washes into the sediments from the granite uplands and associated, often highly radioactive, pegmatites. In buildings constructed primarily from natural granite, it is possible to be exposed to approximately 200 mrems per year. ... Granite could be considered a potential natural radiological hazard as, for instance, villages located over granite may be susceptible to higher doses of radiation than other communites. ... Cellars and basements sunk into soils formed over or from particularly uraniferous granites can become a trap for radon gas, which is heavier than air. However, in the majority of cases, although granite is a significant source of natural radiation as compared to other rocks it is not often an acute health threat or significant risk factor. Various resources from national geological survey organisations are accessible online to assist in assessing the risk factors in granite country and design rules relating, in particular, to preventing accumulation of radon gas in enclosed basements and dwellings"
I still think that is a likely contributory cause of the Shroud's 14th century radiocarbon age (and that alone invalidates the 1988 radiocarbon dating result). But it later occurred to me (or perhaps I later read it-see quotes in next part #4) that there is another reason why assumption 3) could be wrong and that is if the Shroud is indeed the sheet that was covering Jesus' body when He was resurrected, then the change of state of His body into a "glorious body" (Php 3:21; 1 Cor 15:42-44), which could pass through locked doors and walls (Jn 20:19,26), may have emitted radiation which imprinted His crucified image onto the linen. See also my response to the comment at the end of in part #2.
However, before we get to that in what will be part #4, it is important to realise that despite nearly forty years (since 1969, or even over a century since 1902) of scientific investigation, scientists have been unable to come up with a plausible naturalistic explanation of how the image of a crucified man was transferred from his body to the linen sheet covering his body. As Stevenson & Habermas noted in their 1981 first book, the best explanation that STURP (the Shroud of Turin Research Project), came up with was that the image on the Shroud was "some kind of scorch," although not caused by fire since "the optical properties of the Shroud image and the fire scorches are not identical":
"Theory: The Image Is a Scorch. The scientific team arrived in Turin in 1978 already suspecting that the image on the Shroud could well be some kind of scorch. The scorch theory had become the leading candidate for image formation partly because other theories seemed improbable and partly because the image looked like a scorch in photographs available before 1978. Cellulose yellows in the first stages of burning. If the heat and timing are carefully controlled, an experimental scorch can yellow cellulose fibers the way those on the Shroud are yellowed. Furthermore, a known scorch-the burns from the 1532 fire-lay right on the cloth, and the image resembled it. Analysis of color photographs prior to 1978 indicated that the image and the fire scorch have similar optical properties. A scorch has several other properties which the Shroud image also possesses. The image was not affected by the heat of the 1532 fire or by the water thrown on the Shroud to extinguish it. Neither heat nor water would affect a scorch in any way. The 1978 observations largely confirmed this pre-1978 theorizing. The ultraviolet and visible light reflectance tests showed that the image and the fire scorches reflected light in a similar way. ... However, the optical properties of the Shroud image and the fire scorches are not identical. The fire scorches are visually redder than the body image, and the two areas of the cloth fluoresce somewhat differently under ultraviolet light. The team thought that these differences would be present if scorches had occurred under different conditions. In 1532, the Shroud was burned while sealed inside a metal box. Such a scorch, occurring in a substantially oxygen-free environment, would be visibly redder and would have different fluorescent properties than a scorch which occurred in the presence of oxygen. Indeed, Vernon Miller and Samuel Pellicori demonstrated this fact experimentally. They burned cellulose in an oxygen-depleted environment, and the scorch this experiment produced fluoresced in a way similar to those of the fire-damaged areas of the Shroud. It thus seemed probable to many members of the team that the image on the Shroud is a scorch, slightly different than the known scorches on the Shroud, but a scorch nonetheless. If the image was a scorch, how did it get on the cloth? This question proved to be very difficult to answer in scientific terms. The problem was finding what the Schwalbe and Rogers summary of research called a `technologically credible image transfer mechanism.' This was the main objection to the scorch hypothesis before 1978, and it remained the major objection after the testing and analysis were completed. Not all of the scientists agree with the scorch thesis, and many members of the scientific team stopped well short of imagining that a corpse emitted enough light and heat to scorch a burial shroud. Indeed, the team's summary of research classified the scorch hypothesis in the category of artificial-image theories. In other words, a chief issue for some was attempting to view the Shroud image in strictly natural terms. ... this may not be fully possible." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, 1981, pp.90-92. Emphasis original)
but then the problem is, "If the image was a scorch, how did it get on the cloth?" That is, how was it that "a corpse emitted enough light and heat to scorch a burial shroud"?
In their second book, ~9 years later in 1990 Stevenson & Habermas note that after "100 thousand to 150 thousand scientific man-hours ... studying the Shroud" by STURP, "most members still seem to regard the dehydrated-cellulose image as a probable low-temperature scorch, and the image as having been somehow `projected' across space onto the cloth" which is :the old radiation-scorch hypothesis in thin semantic disguise:
"In conclusion, natural hypotheses have failed to explain the Shroud's image and are untenable at this time. ... Thus, neither fakery nor natural hypotheses are viable. Murphy remarked in 1981 that `it is STURP's conclusion that none of the forgery theories is tenable. Neither are any of the "natural phenomenon" hypotheses.' ... At this point, science is unable to explain the Shroud's image completely. On scientific grounds, the cause of the image is an enigma. In the words of the STURP report delivered at New London, `The answer to the question of how the image was produced, or what produced the image, remains now, as in the past, a mystery.' As Heller asserted, `100 thousand to 150 thousand scientific man-hours have been spent' studying the Shroud, utilizing the best scientific instruments, and yet the image still remains a `mystery.' In spite of this conclusion, by the early to mid 1980s, numerous scientists had indicated their view that the image was best explained by a scorch theory of some sort. Even Mueller, a critic of the Shroud, pointed out in 1982: `Nationwide, at least, most members still seem to regard the dehydrated-cellulose image as a probable low-temperature scorch, and the image as having been somehow `projected' across space onto the cloth. This is, of course, the old radiation-scorch hypothesis in thin semantic disguise.' Wilcox's 1982 article series, largely based on his interviews with twenty-six scientists from the 1978 investigation, confirmed some of Mueller's suspicions. Noting that possibly the most important single finding of STURP was the oxidized, dehydrated, and conjugated nature of the linen fibrils. Wilcox decided to ask the scientists he interviewed what they believed to be the cause of the image. Only seven ventured a specific answer. Two of them, Pellicori and German, favored the latent-image version of the contact theory even though STURP declared that contact theories are `totally incapable' of explaining crucial portions of the image. The other five scientists who answered Wilcox's query indicated their view that the image was a scorch . Even though a sample of seven scientists is admittedly very small (about 27 percent of those questioned), it is nonetheless quite significant that those who did answer believed the scorch hypothesis fit the facts better than any other. However, the interesting question here is, how can a dead body under a cloth produce such a scorch on linen?" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, 1990, p.128-129) .
STURP in their final report referred "to the chemistry of the" Shroud's "image as advanced [cloth] decomposition":
"The scientists of STURP even conclude the following concerning the image-formation process: `The cause, then, of the yellowing is chemically altered cellulose consisting of structures formed by dehydration, oxidation, and conjugation products of the linen itself.... This conclusion is supported by laboratory simulations using controlled accelerated aging processes that produce the same spectral reflectance curves as the body-only image areas and the background areas on the Shroud.... It is important to note that this chemistry is similar to the chemistry that causes the yellowing of linen with age. The fact that we can see the body image tells us that the body image is due to a more advanced [cloth] decomposition process than the normal aging rate of the background linen itself. For this reason, we will from this point on refer to the chemistry of the body-only image as advanced [cloth] decomposition.' [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin, A Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, 1982, pp.3-49]" (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.205. Emphasis original).
that is, "an unknown form of `advanced decomposition' of the cloth, which seemed to `project' from body to cloth," "which has thus far eluded all attempts at duplication" and "has no natural counterpart":
"The STURP scientists go on to state: `The Shroud's mapping relationship, however, poses the strongest objection to a contact mechanism. Contact mechanisms have not been able to produce a convincing cloth-body distance relationship. In fact, taken alone, this mapping function seems to suggest some kind of `projection' mechanism, because there seems to be image present even where it does not appear to have been possible that the cloth was in contact with the body. We are left to identify what kind of `projection' mechanism, and this we have been unable to do. Simple molecular diffusion and `radiation' models, for example, fail to account for the apparent resolution of the image as we understand it.... We really do not have a satisfactory, simple explanation for how the body image got on the cloth. We think this fact is underscored by the fact that to our knowledge no other image on any cloth-grave cloth or art form-like the body image on the Shroud is known to exist today. If another example were to exist, our task of identifying the origin of the body image would be much simplified. ' [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin, A Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, 1982, pp.3-49] Immediately following that remark, the members of STURP began a discussion of whether or not the Shroud might be Jesus'. To put all of the above in common English, they concluded that the Shroud image is caused by an unknown form of `advanced decomposition' of the cloth, which seemed to `project' from body to cloth-a process which has thus far eluded all attempts at duplication. The image is unlike any art form and also has no natural counterpart." (Stevenson & Habermas,1990, pp.205-206. Emphasis original).
To be continued in part #4.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
Exodus 33:7-11. 7Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.